Thursday, August 30, 2012

Elmer Studios, episode 152 and beyond

As I noted when I started this blog, Episode 150 (and, for that matter, Episode 151) were not intended to be the end of Elmer Studios. The original plan was to continue MSTings for some time to come, but real life said otherwise. However, there were plans for what was to come, and in some ways, the “Rebuild” of Elmer Studios reflects some of those ideas.

Stylistic Changes
One of the biggest changes in the “Rebuild” has been the use of prose-format host segments rather then scripted ones. This was something that had been in the wings for of Elmer Studios MSTings for some time anyway, possibly to be rolled out as early as episode 152. I’d been using prose host segments in the “Mystery Ruins Theatre” series of Comic Book MSTings, and finding them to work a lot better then the scripts that were used for the “main” series MSTings.

The reasons are pretty simple. Prose-style host segments read better, they allow for better characterization and storytelling and above all else, they simply look a lot more polished and professional then the looser script-style ones we’d been using. The script-style ones were, yes, shorter and easier to simply run off, but the drawbacks were pretty much outweighing those advantages.

There would have been changes to the riffing as well, again, some of which are reflected in the “Rebuild” series. There would have been more character-specific riffs and retuning and re-working of running gags. For example, Fic Discussion, already experimented with in several MSTings, would have been a “once a week” regular where possible, but at the same time we would try to avoid “forcing” gags.

Cast and Crew
Crisis of Infinite Temps had given us an opportunity to revisit the B-Team and explore what had and hadn’t worked. The result was somewhat similar to what I discussed in Rebuilding the B-Team; winnowing down the B-Team to only a few core members (Natasha, Celena, Maya) while discarding those that weren’t working as well (Karen, Janice). Elana was on the fence still. Combined with the prose style host segments, the hope was to give the B-Team more personality and life then they’d had before. That would include “version three” Natasha.

On the writing side, things would also have changed. By 2002-2003, the 90s MSTIng community was already drifting apart. Likely we would have had less and less “guest MSTers” as we nt. However, at the same time, there would have been more “Crossover Event” MSTings, such as the Mystery Octagon Theatre Undocumented Features MSTing.

And the Badfics!
MSTings only work as long as there’s material to riff. Fortunately, that was still in abundant supply with no signs of drying up (Today is another matter, but that’s another ramble…), and we had already begun “banking up” fic for episodes 152-onwards. Leading on from episodes 100-149, there would have been an increase in diversity in sources and material, both in terms of not just different anime or video game fics, but fic for other media. A lot of these have been lost to the mists of time – weather that’s a bad thing is another matter.

Amongst other things, we would have been moving into feeding on the then-burgeoning Zoids fanfic racket. That one of the writers was moderating two different Zoids communities at the time might have been a part of that.

Finally, the Mystery Ruins Theatre series would have continued, with a number of Antarctic Press Robotech comics lined up for riffing. Like the Prime Directive MSTing, these may yet see the light of day,

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